Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower Drizzle Cake by Bridget Harney
Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower Drizzle cake is the perfect way to welcome spring into our kitchens. It’s light and moist, with subtle but clean flavours that sing of freshness and new beginnings. It is also a recipe that makes use of that sad courgette that may be languishing in your fridge after the health resolutions of the New Year. This cake may not be detox material, but making it is surely as good for the soul as sharing it is good for the mind and heart.
This cake combines the qualities of those classic cakes, Carrot Cake and Lemon Drizzle Cake. The courgette cake batter is made with oil and the courgette holds the same type of moisture as carrot, but is a little lighter. The drizzle adds that familiar sweet sharpness and even more moisture. The recipe can be made without the elderflower cordial, but it would lack some of those really delicate floral notes and the wistful nod to summer. The yellow roses petals also add that sense of whimsy and sunshine that I am craving at this time of year.
The cake is very adaptable. You could leave out the drizzle and the frosting or just use one of them. If you leave out the frosting, this cake is also lactose free. Honestly though, the drizzle and frosting are so quick and easy that they are worth the extra little effort. I made this cake gluten free, but a standard plain white flour would also work. This cake has a few steps, but all are really easy.
I like to decorate my food with fresh flowers. If you are serving immediately, a sprinkle of fresh (edible!) petals look lovely. Crystallised flowers last better without wilting and have a certain glamour that bare petals don’t. Especially as I like to add a little glitter! They are best made a few hours or even the day before they are needed so that they can dry out fully. This means that they won’t absorb the moisture of the frosting as quickly so they can sit for longer. Make sure any flowers you use are clean and dry, and have been grown in area that is protected from lots of pollution and chemicals and any potential animal interference! Also, the egg white remains uncooked so use an egg from a hen you trust!
Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower Drizzle cake
What you need:
– 1 egg white lightly beaten
– 50 grams of caster sugar (this will vary depending on how many flowers or petals you are doing).
– A pastry or artist’s brush
How to do it:
– Set yourself up with your petals/flowers clean and ready to go. (I recommend sitting down for this job!) Get a bowl with your egg white, a plate/bowl with your caster sugar and a large plate to dry the petals/flowers. Put them all in a row.
– Use a pastry brush or a new artists brush to paint egg white all over the petal/flower.
– Lie it immediately on the sugar and gently heap sugar on top of it so that it gets completely covered in sugar.
– Lift it out, lie it on the plate and allow it to dry. Depending on the flower it may keep for 2- 3 days in a cool airtight container. However, I like to use them within a day.
– Use to decorate everything and anything!
Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower Drizzle Cake
Cake batter Ingredients
– 200 grams of grated courgette
– 225 grams of flour (I used Dove’s farm Gluten Free white flour)
– ½ teaspoon of salt
– ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (Check it is gluten free is you wish)
– ¼ teaspoon of baking powder (Check it is gluten free is you wish)
– Grated zest of two lemons (Keep back one teaspoon if you want to frost the cake)
– 125 ml of vegetable oil or any flavourless oil
– 124 grams of caster sugar
– 40 ml of elderflower cordial
– 1 egg
– Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius and line a pound tin with greaseproof paper
– Mix together the courgette, egg, sugar, lemon zest and elderflower cordial. Grating the courgette is the hardest part of this recipe!
– Sieve or whisk together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in a separate bowl.
– Add the flour mix to the courgette mix. Mix until it is all combined but don’t mix it any more than it needs to just get rid of all the streaks of flour.
– Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for about 45 minutes. You can test it with a knife or skewer by sticking in into the centre of the cake. . The cake is very moist so a skewer or knife won’t come out dry. Just check to make sure there is no uncooked batter sticking to the knife of skewer.
– Allow to cool for ten minutes before adding the drizzle, if using, and allow to cool completely before slathering on the frosting, if using. Allow it to cool in the tin. It’s delicious as it is but keep going for even more delicious layers!
– Juice of two lemons (Use the ones you zested for the cake batter)
– 3 tablespoons of sugar
– 25 ml of elderflower cordial
– Mix the 3 ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
– Once the cake is baked and cooled for ten minutes, spoon the warm syrup over the surface of the cake, letting each spoonful soak in before you add the next.
– Allow to cool completely if you want to frost it, or enjoy as it is!
– 200 grams of cream cheese or mascarpone (depending on how indulgent you are feeling!)
– 1 tablespoon of elderflower cordial
– 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
– 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
– Mix together all the ingredients until smooth
– Slather all over the top of the cooled caked
– Decorate with the crystallised flowers if using.
– Slice, eat and enjoy!
I have baked for as long as I can remember. I grew up on an organic farm in County Wicklow and Maura Laverty’s ‘Full and Plenty’ was my guide in developing the basic skills and knowledge around food. It was this manual and my surroundings that nurtured an interest in local foods and a desire to use familiar ingredients in a creative way.
I work as an Occupational Therapist in the Mental Health services and have always valued the relaxation and pleasure that baking can bring. Since competing in the Great Irish bake Off 2013, I have had new opportunities to bake for a café and write my blog, The Search for Delicious. Baking is still an important part of my personal life, but since doing the show I have a great opportunity to share my recipes and food with people outside my circle of friends and family. I hope to develop recipes that are familiar but different, comfortable but still exciting, and am always delighted when someone tries one of my recipes!